I saw a man pull back and hammer his partner in the nose in a nice restaurant in Goteborg, Sweden, and not a single person intervened. My girlfriend at the time was a social worker and restrained me from getting involved saying that it would only be worse for the woman later. I now think this is bad advice.
But kate.lin is right. It is more common for people to do nothing, especially when it is between a man and a women. But you are right that in western countries your chances of a bystander helping you are greater. That’s education and culture at work, not human nature.
In fact, I DO now recall an instance in which some poor sap tried to intervene in a streetside domestic. He decked the man, whereupon the victim came up behind him and smacked him in the back of the head with a full bottle of Buckfast. She then got her man up off the floor and the two of them gave the bloke a good seeing-to. Not pretty.
Pretty much the same in Canada. With regards to men hitting women, I’ve personally intervened when a Vietnamese gangster punk started slapping his girlfriend all around the club where I was working as a bouncer. He must have hit her three or four times hard before me and another guy grabbed him and kicked him out. He came back an hour later with a dozen friends saying he was going to kill me because I was racist. (He must have decided I got off work too late to kill me, because when I left the club that night at 3:00 am, he and his friends were nowhere to be seen.)
With bar fights I’ve seen people get involved and I’ve seen fights where people watched in horror and did nothing. That happened to me once when I was at a pub on Xinhai Road called Whiskey-A-Go-Go and a gangster by the name of San Ma (Three Horse) personally beat up three guys. He had help, but he did most of the dirty work himself - his friends just kept the three from running away. He dragged them outside by their feet and kept kicking them even after they lost consciousness. Pretty brutal stuff.
People need to get involved. Many moons ago I was with my then GF at the small park below the Grand Hotel and there was this guy arguing with his GF. The GF was real cute and probably was in the wrong because she hit first. Smacked the guy over his head with her handbag. The guy started pushing her around. And I was right there so I went over and pulled them apart and told the girl to leave and kept the guy there for ten minutes and then I let him go. He didnt protest after I explained its better to let her go home by herself and cool off.
Then my Gf got into me saying that I got involved cuz the girl was cute !!! Haha , cant win. Taiwanese girls are VERY jealous .
[quote=“kate.lin”]No, I think those who help others are admirable!
It is not unusual that people ignore those who need help.
It happens everywhere!
So once psychologists spent a lot of effort to study Bystander Effect.[/quote]
Yes, the bystander effect comes into play anywhere. But the “bystander effect” doesn’t mean that people in every case ignore those who need help. This effect describes a social phenomenon that when there are lots of people around to witness an emergency, individuals are less likely to help. So, a victim has a higher probability of getting help from a stranger if there are only a few people around, than if there are many.
Presumably, when there are too many people around, a diffusion of responsibility occurs, and everybody assumes that if it’s really an emergency then “someone else” will help.
Here’s one interesting study:
Experts therefore recommend that if you ever need help from a stranger, don’t just call out “help” randomly, but instead identify a specific person in the crowd and ask that person individually for help. You’ll have a much better chance of getting a favorable response.
On this general topic though, I’ve discussed it many times with people here and it seems that when I’ve asked Taiwanese people about whether or not they’d help a random stranger, most of them say they’d call 119, but would hesitate to get involved personally. I think there is a very clear cultural difference on this matter and in my opinion it really boils down to upbringing.
In the U.S. most people are taught that it’s morally right help someone in an emergency and that a good person won’t just stand by. At least they’ll feel incredibly guilty if they do nothing. Kids learn the story of the Good Samaritan at a young age, and participate in clubs like Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts where they’re indoctrinated with the idea that good people will go out of their way to do good deeds for other people, including helping a person who is hurt or a person who is being hurt. High school students are also required to learn CPR, and are given explicit instructions on how to help victims in an emergency.
And actually, I can remember very clearly the thing that tipped the scale for me on this issue. In my high-school sociology course we read about the famous Kitty Genovese murder, where 38 people witnessed her being brutally stabbed and nobody did a thing to help. After I read about this, I was horrified and made a very conscious decision that I would always get involved in any situation where I saw someone who was hurt or being victimized, no matter what the people around me were doing. So far I’ve stuck to it, and I hope that I’m never too afraid to get involved to help a person in need. I’m a small person, so maybe someday I’ll really get my ass kicked, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to watch someone be abused and not at least say something about it.
In any case, I’m not saying that Taiwanese people won’t help strangers in need, because I’ve personally witnessed accidents here where people rushed to the scene to help an accident victim. I know that some social consciousness about this issue exists, so I’m hopeful that over time individual attitudes will change and more people in Taiwan will follow suit.
Yes, great post Erhu, and it lends weight to the reason why someone is more likely to get help in Australia, being one of the least population dense places to live compared to one of the most population dense. (in terms of the number of likely witnesses at the scene)
I guess with less people you are likely to feel more like its up to you to do something.
And then they find out in real life that taking such action in the US exposes them to a raft of legal issues, including possible civil and criminal charges, and they’re slightly less enthusiastic about being Good Samaritans.
I believe modern Western society encourages social intervention far less than it used to.
I agree unfortunately, however when I took my first aid course in Australia, this was one issue that was brought up.
The instructor informed us that in cases of intervention to administor first aid (maybe he was just referring to recussitation, but I can’t confirm), that only once case was taken before the courts, and that the woman whose heart was made to pump again by some good samaritan, had her chest exposed during the ordeal.